Les Riley grew up in Columbia, South Carolina, but he found his fame and fortune in the green fields of Colombia, South America. In the 1970s, Les and Barry Foy co-ran a crew that supplied the eastern seaboard with Colombian and Jamaican cannabis for more than a decade. The group, known as the Gentlemen Smugglers, eventually became a prime target for the feds. In particular, a cravenly ambitious federal attorney named Henry McMaster—now the governor of South Carolina—pulled out all the stops to take Les, Barry and his Gentlemen Smugglers down. The story of the Smugglers' rise, chase and eventual fall represents the first great battle in Richard Nixon's War on Drugs.
The Gentlemen Smugglers series is based on the bestselling 2011 book Jackpot: High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs by journalist Jason Ryan.